Magnificent Buttler help England beat SL by 26 points

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Buttler (101 not on 67 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (40 on 36 balls) split a century for the fourth wicket to bring England to a difficult 163 for 4 after the first setbacks.

England’s Jos Buttler celebrates after scoring a century in the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match between England and Sri Lanka in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on Monday November 1, 2021 (AP Photo / Aijaz Rahi)

Jos Buttler smashed a magnificent 101 not out, his first international century in the shortest format, as England recorded their fourth straight victory, beating Sri Lanka by 26 points in a Super 12 game to virtually seal a place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup here on Monday.

Buttler (101 not on 67 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (40 on 36 balls) split a century for the fourth wicket to bring England to a difficult 163 for 4 after the first setbacks.

Sent to bat, England lost three wickets for 35 stitches before Buttler and Morgan joined hands to sew 112 crucial stitches that came out of 78 balls.

Sri Lanka’s pursuit also started on a disappointing note as they lost their first three wickets with the scoreboard showing 34 points in 5.1 overs.

While Pathum Nissanka (1) was exhausted in the third ball of their inning, Kusal Perera (7) and Charith Asalanka (21) were defeated by the cunning of leg spinner Adil Rashid (2/19), both caught. after having misplaced their shots.

The Islanders lost another wicket after a brief 23-point fight between Avishka Fernando (13) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (26) with Chris Jordan (2/24) catching the former aplomb in front of the wicket at ninth plus.

Needing 98 of the last 10 overs, Rajapaksa tried to raise the bar, hitting Chris Woakes for a six and a straight ball limit. But he went into the next ball looking for a limit too much, caught by Jason Roy as the batter was tricked by Woakes’ counter-cutter.

It became a Herculean task for Sri Lanka from there. But Wanindu Hasaranga (34) and skipper Dasun Shanaka (26) were in no mood to retire without a fight as they sewed 53 points for the sixth wicket to keep Sri Lanka afloat.

Left arm playmaker Tymal Mills was hit for a six and four in the 14th before the bowler limped off the field after sustaining a right quad injury that could potentially exclude him from the tournament.

Just when it looked like the road was over for Sri Lanka, Hasaranga and Shanaka found the fence several times to bring the equation down to 51 over the last five overs and give their team a silver lining.

With 10 points to come in the 16th over Jordan, the scales were pretty even in the last four overs.

But Liam Livingstone broke the partnership, dismissing the dangerous-looking Hasaranga in 17th place who produced just seven points and tipped the game in England’s favor.

Sri Lanka lost the plot after the Hasaranga wicket, thanks to a brilliant commissioning from England, representing the wickets of Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera.

The Sri Lankan tail tried to use its long shaft in search of big hits, but every time they hit the ball in the air they found the safe hands of the English outfielders who were knocked out for 137 in 19 overs.

Earlier, England lost Jason Roy (9) in the second round. Their script went from bad to worse as they lost two more fast wickets.

Dawid Malan (6) was first cleaned by Dushmantha Chameera in the third and two overs later Jonny Bairstow (0) was out LBW against de Silva after Sri Lanka successfully requested a review.

In between, Buttler found the fence a few times to hold England’s scoreboard, managing a meager 47 points in the first 10 overs.

It was up to Buttler to increase the bet and he did his best after the 10th, racking up 14 runs of medium pace Chamika Karunaratna in the 13th.

Buttler first beefed up the pitcher all the way to the middle fence, then hit him above the deep limit of the midwicket to the max.

Buttler landed his fifty-five balls, the slowest of his T20 career, with a single out of Silva in the 14th.

The partnership between Buttler and Morgan has grown stronger over time.

The 15th over quick pitcher Lahiru Kumara gave 22 points, Buttler hitting two sixes, while Morgan broke through the fence once.

Morgan’s sacking had no effect on Buttler who continued his attacking play and finished the innings with a six from Chameera to score the first T20 ton.

Buttler decorated his sleeves with six limits and as many as six.

The English hitters have taken Sri Lanka’s bowlers to the test in the last five overs, scoring 58 points for the loss of just one wicket. PTI SSC SSC

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